Sunday, October 10, 2010

No-Knead Bread: An Experiment, Part 1

Pin It If you’ve read my blog over the last year, you’ve seen my experiments with making yeast breads (1, 2, 3).  It’s something that I watched my mother do when I was younger and something I felt I had to/wanted to master. Now that fall is here, I’m back in bread baking mode.

(Here’s a shot of one of last year’s faves!)

Two different bloggers that I subscribe to recently posted two different recipes for No-Knead Bread.  Well, doesn’t that sound great?!?  I’m always in a time crunch and honestly, bread making is kind of a process.  Cut out the kneading part?  Sign me up! I decided to try them both out and review each method.
Method 1:
First, I tried the method posted by Beth at Budget Bytes for No-Knead Crusty White Bread.  Apparently I’m the last gal on the planet to hear about the No-Knead concept.  Beth’s recipe was taken from a book called Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.
No-Knead Crusty White Bread
From “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day,” by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 6 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, more for dusting dough
  • Cornmeal
1. In a large bowl or plastic container, mix yeast and salt into 3 cups lukewarm water (about 100 degrees). Stir in flour, mixing until there are no dry patches. Dough will be quite loose. Cover, but not with an airtight lid. Let dough rise at room temperature 2 hours (or up to 5 hours).   
2. Bake at this point or refrigerate, covered, for as long as two weeks. When ready to bake, sprinkle a little flour on dough and cut off a grapefruit-size piece with serrated knife. Turn dough in hands to lightly stretch surface, creating a rounded top and a lumpy bottom. Put dough on pizza peel sprinkled with cornmeal; let rest 40 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough or refrigerate it.
3. Place broiler pan on bottom of oven. Place baking stone on middle rack and turn oven to 450 degrees; heat stone at that temperature for 20 minutes.
4. Dust dough with flour, slash top with serrated or very sharp knife three times. Slide onto stone. Pour one cup hot water into broiler pan and shut oven quickly to trap steam. Bake until well browned, about 30 minutes. Cool completely.
Yield: 4 loaves.
The resulting slices were delicious!  I be beginning to doubt all that kneading hooey I did last year.  :(
NOTES and Review:
  • The recipe didn’t mention that you can use a decent amount of flour while shaping the loaf.  My dough was pretty wet, but I was worried about adding too much flour while shaping.  My hands were pretty messy!  I found a video on the authors’ website showing how to deal with sticky dough.
  • I do not have a pizza peal, so I use a rimless cookie sheet, a pastry scraper and corn meal to slide my loaves onto my pizza stone.
  • I have yet to purchase this book, but after my experience tonight I’m definitely interested.  They also have a second book called Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day where they incorporate more whole grains and natural ingredients into their recipes.  Love that.
  • This recipe makes about 4 small loaves which is more than I need at one time.  I tried to refrigerate half of the dough, but it took on a life of its own (see below!).  Need to figure out what I did wrong. 
Here’s the extra dough right when I placed it in the container.
And here’s the monster that grew in my fridge after two days!!!
Come back soon to my try at the second no-knead method.  It involves me getting new kitchen gear.  Woo hoo!

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  1. Wow! You are awesome. I cannot bake, cook, pour a bowl of cereal to save my life:) But I try!!

    I'm a new reader, so nice to "meet" you! love your blog!

  2. I have heard so SO many amazing reviews of the book you posted the link to. Beautiful photos Sabby.

  3. I didn't know about no kneed recipes either :( I'm going to try this recipe out later in the week with a pot of soup. Yummmy. I'll let you know how it turns out. Thanks for the recipe and great photos.

  4. I make King Arthur's version of the No-Knead dough a lot. I think the recipe is almost the same (if not the same) as this one. It does make a lot so here are my suggestions.

    Cut the recipe in half and only make two loaves. This is what I usually do, with no problems.

    Make three larger loaves by using more dough and adjusting your cooking time slightly. I find that with a larger loaf, I'm more likely to make a sandwich out of my leftover bread. And this makes an excellent sandwich!

    Make 4 loaves. I've frozen two loaves at time before and found they last nicely up to a month in the freezer. Let is thaw at room temperature for several hours for best results.

    In regards to your "mess". This bread will continue to rise, settle, and rise again for up to two weeks. The longer you keep it the fridge the tangier it will get and you will end up with bread that tastes a lot like sourdough. If you want to only use what you need, I suggest putting it back in a smaller mixing bowl and covering it with greased plastic wrap. The bread will continue to rise and settle, but you won't have such a mess.

  5. I love bread recipes that don't require kneading. This bread looks excellent.

  6. I've cut this recipe in half too -- and then just pulled off a few clumps to make dinner rolls or bread bowls for soup!

  7. Yum, this looks delicious! Just like something from a bakery. I've never attempted bread but I want to give this a try! Thanks for sharing.

  8. I've seen recipes like this but I think I've tried only once years ago for no-knead french bread. If I remember correctly, it was really really good.

  9. ah that bread looks delicious!! I wanted to let you know about a linky party I started called "Handmade Tuesdays." I feature a tutorial first and then I have a linky at the bottom where people link up their tutorials :)

  10. What a beautiful slashed loaf of bread! I've been trying to do that with sourdough, but haven't had much luck.

  11. We are definitely bread eaters at my house ~ thinking we'll be trying this out!! Looks so yummy and I love the smell of fresh bread baking ~ YUMMY!

  12. I am SO trying this! I took a baking course last year and I got to make all kinds of artisan breads...and I haven't done it since. This loaf looks fabulous. First time here...stopped over from Tasty Tuesdays :)

  13. This is so cool. I will most def have to try my hand at this. We have been into bread lately. I want to try the whole grain cookbook, because of my health and just better for you all around.

    I absolutely love your blog. Tried to grab your button for my blog but couldn't get it to work. Darn :-(

  14. I have both of these books jackie, if you want to look at them the next time you come home. "Manders"


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